Evan Rachel Wood Gets Candid About Psychiatric Hospital Stint At 22

By David Konow 02/06/19

The Westworld actress penned a powerful testimony about her time at a psychiatric hospital for Nylon magazine.

Evan Rachel Wood

Actress Evan Rachel Wood, of the hit sci-fi series Westworldrevealed to Nylon that she checked into a psychiatric hospital when she was 22 years old.

Wood, who earned acclaim in the 2003 film Thirteen, wrote about her experiences in an essay for the magazine. “When I was 22, I willingly checked myself into a psychiatric hospital, and I have absolutely no shame about it. Looking back, it was the worst, best thing that ever happened to me.”

Wood realized she needed help after a suicide attempt. In the morning, she called her mother. “Mom? It’s me…I just tried to kill myself…I need to go to a hospital.”

At the time, Wood was more worried about how her mother would take her cry for help. “This is how much I worried about others and not myself,” she says today. “I had almost died, but the guilt and responsibility I felt toward others was so extreme.”

Wood says, “I had collapsed under the stress and pressure of being alive.” She was suffering from PTSD, which she says was the result of suffering “multiple rapes and a severely abusive relationship that went on for years.”

Haunted by her trauma, the actress said, “I just wanted some peace.”

Wood found a facility and paid “a significant amount of money” for her hospital stay. “Mental health shouldn’t be a luxury for the rich. It felt like I barely made it by the skin of my teeth—and I am privileged. Imagine how hard it is with no health insurance or money or resources?”

Wood had seen movies that dealt with mental illness like Girl, Interrupted and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, yet she thankfully realized that getting help didn't fit this Hollywood stereotype.

After several days of rest, she finally opened up to fellow patients and did group therapy. Once she started interacting with others, she discovered, “We were incredibly loving and empathetic to each other, even when we disagreed or someone lost their shit. We forgave, very easily.”

Looking back on this event, Wood says it was the first time in her life that she “asked for help. I admitted I could not go on without someone intervening, to pick me back up off the floor.”

Wood is still in therapy, and admits, “I still struggle with PTSD, but I know that I will get through it. I have better tools now to get through what seems like the impossible times, and most importantly, I know my worth."

Wood writes, "There is no economic class, race, sexuality, or gender that is safe from their own mind. We know success doesn't cure depression, we know that people telling you they love you doesn't cure depression, we know that just thinking positively doesn't cure depression. Depression isn't weakness, it's a sickness. Sometimes a deadly one. And sometimes all people need is to know that they are loved and that others are there for them. They may not take your hand right away, but knowing it's there could save their life one day. Or who knows, you might help save your own."

If you or someone you know may be at risk for suicide, immediately seek help. You are not alone.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255)

Call 911

Send a text to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. This free text-message service provides 24/7 support to those in crisis.

Call a friend or family member to stay with you until emergency medical personnel arrive to help you.

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.